Grade 1 Math - help please :)

I am confused as to how to teach grade one Math. The material is easy lol, but I have no idea how to start. Every site says something different and every program is different. Do you teach addition facts by fact families, by teaching adding one, then adding two ( 1+2, 1+3, 1+4 ) etc, or do you teach addition equations up to 4, then up to 5 ( 1+3=4, 2+2=4, 0+4=4) etc. Any advice would be appreicated! Have a great day.

Just like you said each curriculum is different. When it comes to choosing Math (or if you are planning on doing your own math) I suggest finding what is logical to you first and trying that and seeing if your child/children understand it. If they do great, if not try another approach. The only WRONG way to teach math is to confuse the children you are teaching! lol :slight_smile: Hope you find what you are looking for.


@brit923 Have you looked at Math U See? I would encourage you to visit their site and check out their scope and sequence. If you decide to use their curriculum there’s also an online placement test to help you determine where your child should start.

We’ve used their curriculum for the last 8 years. I attribute my children’s understanding in math to this outstanding curriculum. I wish I would have been taught math this way as a child! Maybe then I wouldn’t have cried through high school and college math…lol.

Steve Demme teaches each new concept on DVD. I watch the lesson with my children and help them using similar verbiage that was used in the video lesson.


There are some other posts on this topic–search some of the earlier post. The best tip imo is to figure out your child’s learning style. There are several books on this available at the library. Once you figure that out, you can try different curriculums accordingly. As I always suggest, borrow or print out some sample pages and actually teach it to your child before you buy! ( I spent too much money before I learned that!)


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We love MUS! But, for some reason, my two youngest did not! I had to switch curriculums! :disappointed:

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We use Saxon and they teach math facts systematically. Like all the +1,+2 sum of 10 is 4+6=10 3+7=10, +9, double facts etc. They all follow some rule with the exception to the last 8. Those you just memorize. . The same with subtraction. It’s been very nice and really had made sense. My daughter just ate them up. I worried she’s struggle with them, but after teaching then systematically she first learned the why and then they became engrained in her memory. We love Saxon at our house.


@brit923 When we were first starting out, I honestly had no idea what my child’s “learning style” was. I mean, at the time, she was in Kindergarten, so we didn’t have much to go on yet, and I was new to homeschooling that year. So, for better or worse, I chose a curriculum that fit my “teaching style,” figuring at least it would be something I could understand and work well with. As it turned out, it was a great curriculum that, in my opinion, fits a lot of learning styles, and she blossomed with it and has never struggled with math. She is in her third year now of homeschooling and is still using the same curriculum company–we use Horizons Math, and has never complained about doing math once. She gets excited about the lessons and I can count on one hand the number of days she has struggled with a lesson. It uses a spiral method, so she doesn’t forget concepts (they are continually reinforced) and now my second child is in his first year (Kindergarten) and doing great with it as well!

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Thank you for all the responses. I think I am trying to do too much by trying to make sure every little way of teaching is covered and all I am doing is getting frustrated.

Is this your first year? You will eventually settle into what you know is best for your family. Relax and enjoy teaching your little one/s. And believe me when I say enjoy first grade. I wish I was more relaxed at that stage, instead of enjoying the ride we ended up in tears some days and it was not necessary especially for children who are so young and just learning to love learning! Now my youngest DD is starting school early (I tried to take a relaxed approach with her but she LOVES to ‘do school’) I have one more coming up behind her and I’m wondering if I will ever get the chance to ‘have a relaxed approach’ as he seems like he will be the same as his sister. sigh those young years go by so fast don’t miss it stressing about the right approach. They WILL learn and as I said you will figure out what is best for you as you become more confident :slight_smile: Hope you have a wonderful first grade. :sunny:

I have to agree with Proverbs31.
Also, just wanted to mention two programs I love, just so you can check them out and see if they fit your style. One is Practical Arithmetics by Strayer-Upton. My daughter has been learning so much with this one. It just clicks! And she never really had issues with math, but the way these lessons are introduced make perfect sense. Also they are fun! It is a 3-book series, 1 book for 2 grades, the first being for grades 3-4, second book for grades 5-6, and third book for grades 7-8.
The other one I like is Miquon Math. We really enjoy these as well. I think they’re probably better as a supplement even if just for fun, which is what we do. I can’t speak for it as a curriculum on its own. It is designed for 1st-4th grades.

It sounds like you have a lot of great suggestions here. I thought I’d share one more with you! As a teacher, I loved Everyday Math. I used it in both of the school districts in which I taught K, 1 and 2. (It changed the way I think about math) The program offers daily plans that follow a simple routine. Short lesson to present something new, a hands-on game to review math skills, followed by a page or two of independent work in a math journal. The most important thing about this program is that you and your child always begin by thinking about numbers and problem solving. It isn’t about an individual problem, it’s about developing strategies you can use in any situation. You learn using coins, dice, dominoes, cubes and longs, cards, etc. (This a far cry from the rote method I learned and hated years ago! I now do math in my head using the strategies I’ve learned from teaching this curriculum.)

Today we looked at dominoes to generate number sets. A domino showing 4 and 5 on each side, for instance, gave us the numbers 4, 5, and 9. We used those 3 numbers to create a fact family and the related addition and subtraction facts that can be generated out of it. Then we played Addition Top-it with a deck of cards, where we each drew 2 cards, added them together, higher sum took all. Finally, she did her practice pages in her math journal. One of the pages pictured dominoes, from which she generated the related number sentences. The second page had a variety of quick review style questions of other things we have covered.

She loves doing math. I do too! Our lessons are smooth, easy to adjust up or down, and her mental math skills have gone through the roof. The first part of the lesson does involve your participation, as does the game play (although if you have more than one child, they can play together), and the final segment is independent. I ordered the latest editions of the student and teacher volumes for first grade in used excellent condition from Amazon for $35. I could not be more pleased. I hope this info helps you to narrow your choices as you make your way. You will find something that works for you!

Oh, I also wanted to mention this for anyone who may have heard of or is interested in trying out Ray’s Arithmetic. I found an online site basically dedicated to making a video lesson for each lesson. They have done the first grade entirely. I like playing the videos to my 4 year old, and he enjoys and learn much from them! Here’s the link

Hello @MotherofMany Do you recommend Math U See for pre algebra?

@MotherofMany I saw MUS has an app for iPad, how do you like that? We currently use BJU math and I’m happy with it, but…my son learns so hands on I’ve oftern wondered about MUS. Is the program something that kids need to start with from the beginning, or can they pick up in any grade and understand the process of using the blocks? Thanks again for your input😀

I definitely would suggest you checking out Math U See. It really is making a difference in our homeschool day! :smile:

Hello @mommylove2015! Yes, I do recommend Math U See for Pre-Algebra :slight_smile: I don’t feel confident to teach my children upper level math. I’m the gal who struggled with math in high school and college.

One thing I appreciate about Math U see is the video lessons, where Mr. Demme teaches the new concepts. It’s like having a math teacher come to the house each week.

@Luvmyboys the MUS app is not free and because I’m Frugal McDogal I haven’t purchased it :slight_smile: I have found that the MUS blocks work well for helping my younger ones “see” the concept they are learning.

Children do not need to start the program from the beginning. On the website there is a placement test for you to administer to your child in order to determine which book to start with. The books are not grade specific, rather they are based on the concepts a child has mastered.

Additionally, Mr. Demme teaches the students how to use the blocks in the video lessons for lower level math.

Thank you so much @MotherofMany! I think I’ve made my mind up to switch to MUS.
But one more question…Do you really need the manipulatives for pre algebra?

@mommylove2015 You don’t need the blocks for the older kids. They are really just for teaching little ones. The kids seem to just naturally outgrow the blocks. Mine both stopped using them once they got into multiplication.

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@mommylove2015- I would have to say that it depends on the child. My older boys are blessed to be able to understand math very quickly. They did not use the Pre-algebra manipulatives. My oldest daughter on the other hand found them to be very helpful.

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